How to Tear Down Silos in Your Organization

Nov 11, 2013

As an organization grows, there’s a natural tendency to group people with the same tasks and function together as teams. With time, these teams become departments – marketing, sales, finance, HR, IT, etc.

While it makes sense to group these people together under a leader, what tends to develop in most organizations is silos.

Leaders and the people below them pull inward and become self-serving; looking out for their own needs first.

These silos can put departmental leaders and their direct reports at odds with other departments. They may fight for priority and a limited amount of resources.

Silos can make people feel underappreciated and misunderstood.

Developing a Strong Organization Mission and Goals

An easy way to start dismantling silos is to ensure your organization has a strong message and clear objectives and goals at the top and can define how each department is connected to them and helps make them a reality.

Without these it is difficult for people to see how and where they fit into the overall goals of an organization.

Team goals need to be tied to organization goals and performance. A one for all and all for one approach.

When department leaders can clearly articulate a mission people can be passionate about and see how teamwork between departments contributes to it, it makes for more communication and generosity.

Building a Team of Leaders

It comes down to the department leaders to band together as a team and see how each one is connected to the others and how they all come together to serve a higher goal. That way when one needs to make a sacrifice they see it not as a slight, but as a necessary move for the well-being of the organization and the other departments can also appreciate that sacrifice.

To promote a sense of team amongst department leaders, we suggest creating a buddy system by partnering leaders up so they can discuss challenges and issues they have and offer advice and support. This way they get a sense of each departments unique challenges and their importance to the whole while promoting teamwork.

These could be mixed up after a while so each department leader gets a chance to buddy up with the others – even if it’s just a coffee or lunch here and there to discuss things or be able to shoot one another an email or call for some advice.

A leadership book club is another idea for teambuilding. Have your department leaders choose a business book and then get together to discuss it. They will be able to learn and see each person’s different perspectives.

When you have strong leaders working together towards the same overall goals, success will follow.

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